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When the videophone aroused the craze


Our archive images taken from a filming of the show Discovery in 1994 we present this innovation well highlighted in an AT&T store in the United States.

The VideoPhone 2500 is a full-size phone with a flip-up panel revealing a small LCD screen and camera lens.

In order to take full advantage of the video functionality it offers, it often has to be purchased as a pair. In 1994, it retails for nearly $1,400, but can also be rented for $30 per month.

The AT&T Videophone has the advantage of using standard North American electrical outlets and not requiring additional wiring to operate it. It also means that at ten frames per second, the quality of the video transmission can be questionable.

Report, January 21, 1957

The desire to develop a telephone allowing us to see our interlocutor dates back to the 1950s, as evidenced by this archive from January 21, 1957.

Visiting the Telephone Museum, journalist Jean Ducharme asks the hostess of the Bell company to present to him the future of telephony for the second half of the 20th century.

the videophone that the hostess shows him is still at the experimental stage, but we notice that the device has a small screen of barely an inch in circumference.

If you don’t want to be seen, you can simply place your hand in front of the lens or remove the current, she explains to the journalist.

In the early 1970s, videophone technology really took shape in Canada.

On show The arrow of time of September 12, 1971, journalist Paul-Émile Tremblay notes that the videophone is now a familiar reality in some offices of the Bell company, including that of Montreal.

The introduction of the videophone in this work environment is still at the experimental stage, assures Jean de Grandpré, of Bell Canada, who is cautiously considering its commissioning.

Everything seems to indicate that the videophone has reached the operational stage and that it could satisfy the most demanding user., nevertheless observes the journalist.

The Bell Canada representative shows him how the videophone works, which he considers particularly useful during meetings that require visual support.

I believe that companies will use it for the transmission of data, graphics, documents that require verbal explanation, explains Jean de Grandpré. This is the main use of the videophone device in the short term.

Otherwise, the videophone is a specialized device in the same way as a teleprinter, and its operation is based on many adjustments, in particular for the development of the image.

Around 1973-74, videotelephone communication could begin to establish itself in large companies, but not in homes., considers the representative of Bell Canada.

Téléjournal, May 24, 1986

At the end of the 1980s, an experiment with a wider audience was attempted in Biarritz, in the south-west of France. A few thousand people are connected to the videophone network, which combines television and telephone.

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France hopes to become the world leader in this cutting-edge technology and intends to extend it to its territory by the end of the century., announces host Jean Ducharme at Newscast of May 24, 1986.

In his report, journalist Normand Lester introduces us to a few users who take part in the experiment and discover the possible uses of the videophone.

People in hospital in particular, such as a mother who shows her newborn to her stepfather, an injured pupil who can attend his lessons from his hospital room or a bedridden senior woman who can maintain eye contact with her loved ones.

The videophone even allows access to about fifteen television channels which can be switched to the television set in the house, boasts the journalist.

Seven million dollars had to be deployed to bring this experimental telecommunications network into service. Rather than using conventional coaxial cabling, the device is based on a new technology: fiber optics. An innovation that makes it uneconomical to install the videophone in a larger number of homes.

There is no doubt that what you see here is in some way the telephone or rather the videophone of the future., concluded the journalist Normand Lester in 1986.

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